DANVERS — After a disappointing season a year ago, the Danvers High girls basketball team set a goal to get back to the state tournament this winter.
Consider that goal accomplished. A 46-26 win over Swampscott was the 10th victory of the season for the Falcons, earning them a spot in the upcoming Division 2 North playoffs.
“I thought our girls made a statement in the first five minutes of the third quarter,” said Falcons (10-6) head coach Pat Veilleux. “Getting our 10th win is big, especially after last season (5-15). We definitely have some things to work on, but I also saw some good things out there.”
A scrappy Swampscott (6-9) team was playing without its leading scorer, Ari Talkov, who is out with an ankle injury. She has missed her team’s last four games.
The game was tied at 10 all after the first quarter, but the Falcons started to pull away in the second after a 9-0 run to take a 21-12 lead at the half. Freshman Devin Walsh led the way with six of her 12 points during that run, and Falcons’ defense allowed only two points in that eight-minute span.
Three times during the game, Swampscott failed to get a shot off before the 30-second clock expired because of Danvers’ smothering defense.
“We never do anything the easy way,” said Veilleux. “Talkov is one of the best players in our league, and it’s tough for them to be without her. Give Swampscott all the credit for playing hard all the way. They made us work for it. I’ve always loved the way Alexa Goldman plays; she’s their sparkplug.”
Danvers was able to open up a big lead in the third quarter, scoring a dozen unanswered points led by Kasey Sherry (13 points). A Walsh layup gave the hosts a 34-14 lead.
Emily McNulty also finished in double figures for the Falcons with 10 points. Hannah Llewellyn led the team in rebounds with six and Ashley Arnoldy had five. Delaney Zecha and Sherry had two steals apiece.